• September 15th, 2019
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Immigration workers bemoan harsh conditions

Steven Klukowski

KEETMANSHOOP- Immigration officials at the Klein Manasse border post outside Aroab have lamented what they describe as the extreme difficult conditions under which they work.

When New Era visited the border post previously, where some frustrated employees expressed their grievances with regard to their prevailing living conditions. Speaking on condition of anonymity, for fear of possible reprisals, the aggrieved staff said their greatest challenge was the lack of proper and affordable access to telecommunications. “There is no MTC reception here and we are unable to access the internet, basically cutting us from the outside world,” complained a border staff.

He said if they want to use their mobile handsets they have to go through the network in South Africa even when they want to communicate with friends and relatives in Namibia, making it very expensive for them. “This is however very costly since we have to make use of roaming, paying for both incoming and outgoing calls and short message services, as such our cellphone credits does not last long,” said one of the affected immigration officials.

The source further informed New Era that although they have an official telephone line, it is usually on and off depending on the weather.

Another issue at the border post which can have serious implications at the end is the toilets which are not functioning. The aggrieved employees emphasised this has continued for over four years despite numerous requests to the Namibian authorities for intervention.  “At times, visitors crossing our border have to relieve themselves in the nearby open areas if there is a call of nature.”

Another issue of great concern to this group is the proximity of Namibian shops with Aroab village 35 kilometres away from them. According to them, they are now forced to constantly cross over to the South African border, walking three kilometres to nearby Rietfontein in order to buy daily consumables such as milk and bread. “In the end we have to keep on getting new travel passports since the space in them are filled up very quickly which can become very inconvenient for us sometimes.”

Approached for response Patrick Ntupi the Regional Head for Immigration in the //Kharas Region informed New Era that these problems at Klein Manasse border post has been addressed during a recent visit to it by officials from the Ministry of Finance, Namibian Police Force and the Ministry of Works.

“The broken toilets have been attended to and repaired by the Ministry of Works and Transport,” he said in contrast to what the workers claimed. 

Ntupi further explained his office is busy engaging with Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) concerning the availability of network and internet services whilst Telecom will also address the challenge of the partial functioning of the office landline at times. 

“We are providing free transport to our staff members at the border post to Keetmanshoop month-ends in order for them to do shopping, but with regard to the issue of buying daily consumables (bread and milk) they should perhaps arrange in such a way to buy adequate quantities when travelling to Aroab,” he responded.  

The Regional head in addition said that staff are not limited to visit Rietfontein and that provisions are in place with regard to the challenge of passports that needs to be renewed frequently.

Staff Reporter
2019-04-02 09:11:04 5 months ago

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